JACKSON HEIGHTS — A local Tibetan restaurant is swapping out its usual beers for a curated list of microbrews that will accompany a new late-night menu of snacks including momo burgers, fried paneer sticks and hunks of meat that are meant to soak up the booze.
Husband-and-wife team Tenzin Choenyi and Lobsang Choephel, both 26, opened Little Tibet on Roosevelt Avenue in 2012, and offer a small Tibetan menu alongside popular beers including Bud and Amstel Light.
But they wanted to try something different, collaborating with friend and local food tour guide Jeff Orlick to feature a rotating list of specialty beers that will be swapped out monthly starting in March.
"This has to be different," Choenyi said of their new drinks menu — which includes Kingfisher beer, a Victory Prima Pilsner, a spicy Chili Devil beer and two large bottles from Transmitter Brewing in Long Island City to start.
A kegerator will also feature two draft beers.
Orlick picked them based on taste, and tried to find local companies.
He admits, though, that he's not an expert on beer, just a fan.
"I'm not a cicerone," he said. "They could sell the same beers as everyone else in Jackson Heights, or they can sell beers people can be excited about."
The regular-sized bottles cost $5, while the larger bottles from Transmitter cost $18 and are great for sharing, Choenyi said.
The new drinks compliment a new late-night menu created by Choephel who crafted a new spin on Tibetan cuisine and street food popuar in Tibet and parts of India where many Tibetans live.
"We don't want it to clash with our regular dinner menu," Choenyi said, and they'll make it available from 9 p.m. until they close at around 1:30 a.m.
Vegetarian options include fried potato momos, a fried paneer stick and French fries toasted with a garlic and tomato sauce.
For meat-lovers, the Tibetan burger is made from the beef used in momos, which is shaped into a patty instead of a ball.
It's then placed on either Ambdo bread — which they buy from the cart near the elevated train — or tingmo bread, which is usually served with many of their entrees. It's topped with fried crispy onions, homemade mayo and cilantro for a Tibetan twist on the classic American dish.
But the ultimate drinking food, they said, is the "Sha Doktsoe" — which means "chunk of meat" in Tibetan.
The dish, which is meant to be shared, is a large hunk of beef lightly braised with salt, pepper, red peppercorns and star anise.
It's served in the middle of the table with some bread and sauces, and guests cut off pieces of what they want with the knife that's stuck in the middle.
It's food that goes well with beer, Choephel said, and they think the items will be popular for those familiar with Tibetan food and customers who are new to it.
"We have a lot of young Tibetans who love to try new things," Choenyi said. "We still have the same menu, but we want to improvise a little bit."
Little Tibet, 72-19 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights. Open seven days a week from 12 p.m., with later hours on the weekend.